Concerns over the coronavirus have caused several gaming companies to back out of conventions and impacted the production of Valve Index VR headsets.
While government authorities around the world are working to reduce the impact of the coronavirus, several large events have been canceled in recent weeks. Now, a number of game developers have pulled out of gaming conventions in whole or in part. Additionally, Valve has announced that they're having trouble with producing their Valve Index VR headset.
Here's the breakdown of the recent announcements.
GDC 2020 Coronavirus Cancelations
Both Facebook and Sony have independently announced that they will not be attending GDC 2020. The event is scheduled to take place from March 16–20, 2020.
Here is Facebook's announcement on the matter:
GDC is always a highlight of our gaming event lineup, however the health of our employees and the wider games community comes before anything else. Due to the evolving health concerns surrounding COVID-19, Facebook’s AR/VR and Gaming teams will not be attending GDC this year.
Additionally, Oculus has made a separate announcement effectively stating the same thing — they won't be attending GDC, either.
Here's Sony's announcement about GDC:
We have made the difficult decision to cancel our participation in Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus). We felt this was the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern.
Valve Index Production
Valve released a statement to UploadVR, stating that they're going to have a hard time delivering Valve Index headsets in the near future.
Here's the full statement from Valve:
With Half-Life: Alyx coming March 23rd, we are working hard to meet demand for the Valve Index and want to reassure everyone that Index systems will be available for purchase prior to the game’s launch. However, the global Coronavirus health crisis has impacted our production schedules so we will have far fewer units for sale during the coming months compared to the volumes we originally planned. Our entire team is working hard right now to maximize availability. To receive a notification as soon as the Valve Index is back in stock, please visit Steam and click "Notify Me".
PAX East 2020
Final Fantasy XIV was supposed to have some events as part of PAX East 2020, but the Japanese staff is going to be staying home this year. Naturally, that will impact some of their upcoming events as noted in Square Enix's statement:
As the community may be aware, COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”) is spreading within the East Asia region. Taking into consideration the current situation within the region, sadly SQUARE ENIX has decided to cancel the PAX East attendance of staff who would be travelling from the Japan offices. This difficult decision was based on our desire to prevent any potential spread of the virus and to prioritize the health and safety of our team and our fans.
The following FFXIV PAX East 2020 events are consequently canceled:
- Panel Session: The Artwork of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Look Behind the Screen
- Developer Signing Sessions & Photo Op
- Fan Gathering
Square Enix isn't the only one who is backing out of PAX East 2020; PlayStation has also completely canceled its PAX East 2020 events.
Niko Partners Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad added that the Nioh 2 store experience events in Japan have been canceled entirely.
These coronavirus convention cancellations are sure to be a disappointment to some, but it's entirely understandable. Here's hoping that the various nations of the world can get a hold on the problem sooner rather than later. Otherwise, future gaming events are going to be pretty darn empty.
What do you think of the coronavirus convention cancellations? Do you think this problem will be solved before E3 2020? Let us know in the comments below!